1. Sen. Roy Blunt has said he does not support military intervention in Syria. He said in a statement released on Sept. 9 that he joins President Obama in condemning the chemical attack in Syria and “it is clear that the Administration’s policies toward Syria have not worked.” From the statement:
“After careful consideration and a number of briefings on this topic, I believe this strategy and the unknown response it may provoke are the wrong thing to do, and I will not support the resolution the President has asked for.”
2. Blunt got his start in politics as Greene County clerk in 1973. But, before that, he helped a future attorney general try to earn a seat in Congress. From the Kansas City Star:
In 1972, Blunt was teaching at Marshfield High School near Springfield when he drove his pickup to the campaign offices of congressional candidate John Ashcroft, who just turned 30. Their first conversation: Ashcroft asked if Blunt’s truck had a full tank. Blunt said yes. Ashcroft enlisted him as his driver.
Ashcroft lost that Republican primary, but those whom pundits called the “bright young men” of the Missouri GOP were off and running.
3. Blunt, a 1970 graduate of Southwest Baptist University, served as the school’s president from 1993-1996. The school has honored him with the Roy Blunt Hall of Distinction and an endowed history chair. The university is working to fundraise $250,000 for the chair. From the fundraising brochure:
SBU specializes in graduating student leaders who are well-prepared for pursuing careers in a global society. The history major is recognized as one of the most traditional liberal arts majors because of the foundational skills it develops for careers involved in higher order thinking. We believe that Senator Roy Blunt is an excellent role model for students pursuing a major in history.
4. Voters in southwest Missouri elected Blunt to seven terms in the House of Representatives beginning in 1996. His career in the House began with great promise. From the Kansas City Star:
He shot up the House leadership ranks, as fast as anyone in eight decades, to be “the most influential Republican no one’s ever heard of,” in the 1999 view of The Weekly Standard magazine.
Chief deputy whip, then minority whip, then majority whip — counting votes and negotiating to get the Bush agenda through. “A leader who knows how to raise his sights,” the president said, “and lower his voice.”
5. However, his climb to the top of House Republican leadership hit a snag. In 2011, the National Journal reported that if Blunt won the vote of his colleagues to serve as vice chairman of Senate Republican Conference, it would be a redemption-of-sorts from his days in the House. From the article in National Journal:
Blunt’s stock fell in the House as his mentor, disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was driven from office amid scandal. Blunt remained whip and took on DeLay’s position, temporarily, in 2005 but lost the spot (in an embarrassing display of vote miscounting) to now-House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. Blunt faced further indignation after the 2008 elections when now-Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia said he would challenge Blunt for his whip position. Blunt stepped aside rather than take on Cantor, who was then his deputy.
6. When Blunt and the rest of the freshman senators took office in January 2011, they and their staffs worked “out of temporary trailers and windowless basements” while they waited to choose their permanent workspaces, according to an article in National Journal. Blunt, a former history teacher, was excited that his new office was inhabited by a former president. From the National Journal article:
For Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the move into his office in the Russell Office Building has historical resonance. As a former history teacher, Blunt knew it was once inhabited by two other U.S. senators from Missouri: Harry Truman and Kit Bond. In fact, Truman even kept the space while he was serving as vice president from January 20 until April 12, 1945. Truman then was president until 1953.
“It’s safe to say that we’re pleased to be out of the windowless basement, and Senator Blunt and his staff are excited to continue working on behalf of Missourians in this historic space,” said Amber Marchand, a spokeswoman for Blunt.
Blunt did his homework. According to The Examiner in Independence, Mo., the senator toured the Truman Library this week for a “behind the scenes look” at Truman’s World War I memorabilia, an inaugural top hat, and photos and other records.
And though the two leaders have different political ideologies (Truman, for example, was a proponent of a larger government role in health care), Blunt hailed the former president's "tenacity, his self-education, and his courage to do difficult things."
"It’s a tremendous honor, and I’m proud to be part of that legacy,” Blunt said in a statement to National Journal.
7. In 2009, during the inaugural Missouri Literary Festival, Blunt – then still a representative – took part in a marathon reading of his favorite book, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. From the festival’s website:
“We’re delighted that our congressman, our City Manager, the head of our school system and Springfield’s favorite Music Man will be joining us in this celebration of reading,” said event coordinator Kelly Knauer, an editor with TIME Books. “This public reading of Harper Lee’s beloved novel is mainly for fun: it’s outdoors, out loud, and out of the box. But there’s a serious message involved: reading is essential to our success as individuals and as a society.”
Volunteers will take turns reading the novel for 15 minutes each on the concourse of Hammons Field, the Festival venue. Knauer said the marathon, dubbed “To Read a Mockingbird,” will be “a moveable feast … attendees will drop in, sit a spell, and read along with copies of the text we’ll provide, before they move on to other Festival activities.”
First published September 13 2013, 2:21 PM